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Channel Islands Getting New Guardians


One rides the range in the arid Badlands of North Dakota. The other rides the tropical seas off Miami.

Together, a pair of career administrators with the U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce will soon be riding herd on the oceanic wilderness of the Channel Islands off the coast of Ventura County, officials have announced.

Charles (Mack) Shaver, superintendent of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota for the past three years, will become superintendent of Channel Islands National Park on Nov. 9.

Lt. Cmdr. Stephen C. Jameson, a scientific researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will become manager of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary on Jan. 1.

Shaver, 46, is a Kansas City, Mo., native who served as chief ranger at Channel Islands National Park in 1975. Jameson, operations officer for the scientific research vessel Malcolm Baldrige now at port in Miami, is 39.

Shaver returns with a kind of paternal feeling for the islands. He had worked here when Channel Islands was only a two-island monument, before it grew into the five-island national park that now receives 245,000 visitors a year.

He said he knows that the fragile ecosystems of the park must contend with noise and air pollution from substantial oil exploration and drilling in the area as well as increased trips by tourists and Ventura County residents who find solitude in the islands' predominantly undisturbed lands.

He intends to guard his 390-square-mile territory closely.

"It's up to me and those who follow me to be sure we pay attention to any indicators of overuse or development that is on or near the islands," Shaver said this week from the North Dakota park, which is about 135 miles from the capital city of Bismarck.

At Theodore Roosevelt Park, atop a geological formation rich in natural gas and oil, Shaver said he worked with naturalists and the oil industry to keep the intrusions on wildlife to a minimum.

The park limited noisy oil drilling, for instance, to winter months after birds of prey had bred but before their young hatched.

Between 1980 and 1987, before his North Dakota assignment, Shaver was superintendent of the 9-million-acre Northwest Alaska Areas. He lived 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

His other assignments in the Department of the Interior, which administers the National Park Service, have included stints at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona, Lake Mead in Nevada and at Sequoia National Park in central California. He began his Park Service career 22 years ago at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.

Shaver has a bachelor's degree in forestry and forest recreation from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. He said he and his wife, Jan--who will work for a local real estate firm--are buying a home in Ventura.

Filling Vacancy

Shaver fills the position left vacant when Superintendent Bill Ehorn left in July to become superintendent of Redwood National Park in Northern California.

Shaver will oversee operations at the park Visitor's Center at the Ventura Harbor, the park's education programs and enforcement work.

The park includes the islands of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa and San Miguel, along with a mile-wide border of water surrounding each of the islands.

That's where the park's boundaries overlap with those of the Marine Sanctuary, which was created in 1980 to protect 1,250 square miles of water and its inhabitants.

Jameson said he looks to his Marine Sanctuary assignment as a way of helping preserve Southern California's fragile offshore region.

Preserving Diversity

"You feel like you're doing something to improve the environment and preserve natural resources," Jameson said from his home in Norfolk, Va. "Any effort we can make to preserve the genetic diversity of nature is well worth the time and effort."

Jameson will work out of the oceanic administration office at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington through December, when he and his wife, Katherine, and their two daughters will move to California.

NOAA, under the Department of Commerce, is among the seven uniformed services in the United States. It studies oceans and the atmosphere to predict trends in global environments, whether caused by pollution or other man-made perils or meteorological conditions.

Although this is Jameson's first assignment to the Channel Islands, he said he is already familiar with the waters and wildlife.

Channel Islands Proposal

In 1982-83, while serving as the assistant director of operations and enforcement for the National Marine Sanctuaries Program, Jameson wrote the proposal that eventually brought the waters around the Channel Islands under the protective umbrella of the National Marine Sanctuaries Program.

The congressionally mandated program protects sea life by restricting such things as commercial and pleasure fishing, dumping and low-flying aircraft in designated ocean areas.

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